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Five Ways You Save Five Days on Your Close Cycle

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insightsoftware is a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, empowering organizations to unlock business data and transform the way finance and data teams operate.

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For many finance teams, the financial close cycle means long days, time-consuming tasks, and cumbersome processes. Tasks like accounts reconciliation, journal entries and financial reporting are necessary for achieving an accurate picture of your business performance and ensuring compliance. But it is also important to know that not all close processes are born equal.

According to a survey by APQC, there is a five-day difference in closing time between the top and bottom performers. Under performers require 10 or more days between running the trial balance and completing consolidated financial statements. That’s double the time of more efficient teams.

Reducing time to close benefits the entire company. For executives, it means timelier access to important data, leading to better informed decision-making. For CFOs and finance teams, it means more time for value-added functions like analysis and insight. For example, reviewing the data and providing input into scaling operations in response to changing market conditions, or spotting trends so you can reallocate resources in order to capitalise on an emerging opportunity.

Therefore, shortening your close is essential not only to your immediate team, but the health of the entire company.

Working With Your EPM to Shorten Your Close

Most EPM solutions are built to capture and aggregate data. This may mean you have all the data you need, but EPM built-in reporting is often too limited and inflexible to respond to fast-changing, custom business needs.

Native reporting tools won’t give you the quick access to the data you need to do your job effectively. Relying on unsuitable software, complicated spreadsheets, and labor-intensive solutions means you’re constantly chasing numbers, running disconnected reports, adjusting and reconciling data, and generating updated packs for senior management. You’ll constantly be playing catch up, burning time on manual processes and unable to get ahead. Having a solution that can do all this for you is the smarter, faster way to financial close. To chip away at those five days, here are five ways the right solution can improve your process.

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Simultaneous Collaboration Within Reports

One thing that can hold up any process is waiting, whether it be for data or a response to move ahead with your work. Using disjointed communication tools like email or private messaging can also lead to delays and revisions.

With CXO, report commentary is consolidated quickly and easily within the report itself. You’ll be able to streamline internal reporting processes, combining quantitative data with valuable narrative context in a single, secure, collaborative environment. With feedback in context, next to your numbers, everyone will be on the same page and you’ll have far fewer confusions to address.

Additionally, multiple report creators can simultaneously work together on a single report or visualization meaning you can attend to new reporting needs with more speed, flexibility, and control than you might with Excel-based reporting.

Using a Single Report for Multiple Entities

Building every report from scratch can be time consuming. This is especially annoying if you have a bunch of similar reports to run that only require a change of entity. But if you are relying on disjointed data, this cut and paste process is unavoidable.

With CXO, reports update automatically, pulling the most up-to-date information from your source EPM system. This means you’ll only have to do your work once as CXO reports and storyboards use a single source of truth. You can trust that the data you are using is the right data.

If you want to get more automated with your reporting, CXO scripted storyboards allow you to create fixed or dynamic storyboards, without bookmarking reports​. You’ll be able to create multiple storyboards that are similar but based on different entities. So instead of painstakingly building recurring storyboards over and over, scripted storyboards allow you to use scripting language to automate the process. Using this automation means you’ll be able to focus your energy on generating other important data insights.

Dynamic Reports and Dashboards for Fast Insights

Data insights are found through the deep analysis of patterns within data and are essential to generating competitive advantage. But disconnected, static data tables without real-time access lack the necessary depth to generate insights that will move the needle for your business. Without the ability to drill into details, key insights will be missed, resulting in decisions being made off inaccurate or incomplete data.

CXO enables your team to make informed decisions with rich, dynamic reports and dashboards. Pre-built report packs include dynamic dashboards that are available on both desktop and mobile devices and update automatically. This eliminates manual effort and through filtering and drill-down functionality, enables report users to efficiently find the information they need.

Workflow to Simply Your Process

Having a solution that works from start to finish to simplify your close makes your job easier and faster. Workflow features that are built into your solution can propel your work along without you even lifting a finger.

Using CXO’s Points of View and comments, highlight variances and outliers in the data through iterations, including interactive charts and graphics. By automating reporting packs with CXO scripted storyboards, reporting packs generate automatically and include all updated content, thus eliminating several repetitive manual tasks. Also, once created, the storyboards can be easily exported to traditional platforms, such as Excel, PowerPoint or PDF.

No-brainer Out-of-the-box EPM Connectivity

Finding a solution that can help streamline your close is one thing, but you don’t want to get bogged down in the implementation process. Although a good solution can boast time savings, that time can easily be eaten up by reliance on IT to get your new processes up and running.

With CXO, the setup and installation process requires minimal work from IT. CXO delivers immediate value out-of-the-box, with no custom coding, and without requiring an expensive data warehouse solution. Once implemented, your team will be self-reliant and able to autonomously generate recurring reports without waiting for help.

By giving your team these five performance enhancing functions, you will easily shave days from your closing cycle. Inquire with insightsoftware for a free CXO demo.

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